Predators Prospects Monthly Recap: October
A look at how the future of Nashville is shaping up.
This is the first piece of our monthly recaps as part of our new coverage for On The Future. We will be providing short need-to-knows about everyone in the Preds’ system. Follow us on Twitter!
Dante Fabbro, D, Boston University
A leader on the blue line for the struggling Boston University Terriers, Dante Fabbro has gotten off to a fairly good start to his sophomore season. Fabbro has certainly made an impact with his powerful slapshot with two goals and two assists. While this is the case, Fabbro’s big-play ability does not seem to be there much like last season—primarily due to his so-so skating ability. The very cerebral defenseman sticks to his standard quiet game and lets sound positioning, decision making, and a strong shot do the talking.
Here's how Dante tied the game! pic.twitter.com/RpshQH9BM8— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) October 28, 2017
David Farrance, D, Boston University
Paired with Dante Fabbro for many of his starts, David Farrance seems to still be getting used to the bigger and better NCAA hockey league. Farrance has a single assist in his seven games for the Terriers. Something to keep an eye on is the smooth-skating defenseman is going to need to pick it up as the season progresses in order to make the United States’ U20 roster.
Patrick Harper, F, Boston University
After a four goal, two assist start in his first two games that led to him being named one of the Hockey East players of the week, Patrick Harper has quieted down much like the Boston University Terriers in general. With game breaking potential, both he and Brady Tkachuk (projected 2018 top 10 draft pick) have the potential to make the Terriers their team. After the first two games Harper has not been quite as noticeable and that is something he will want to change in order to help his struggling team out.
Patrick Harper's (NSH) 2nd goal from the game vs. Quinnipiac today pic.twitter.com/tW1dQX4jPn— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) October 9, 2017
Grant Mismash, F, University of North Dakota
National East Hockey Conference rookie of the month for October, Grant Mismash has stood out for the University of North Dakota with his skill, hard work, and overall solid play. Mismash is currently sitting at three goals and four assists in seven games; a very impressive start. Watching Mismash play, there is nothing he does that completely blows you out of the water except for the fact that he does everything so well. He might not have top line potential, but he is a guy you could see pitching in all situations in a top line role.
Tommy Novak, F, University of Minnesota
Tommy Novak is in his junior year with Minnesota and he’s certainly playing like it. He’s been a very solid producer for the Golden Gophers and has been good in all situations. He is certainly a player that seems like he will take the long route to the NHL, regardless of whether or not he ends up signing with the Predators.
Rem Pitlick, F, University of Minnesota
Rem Pitlick and Buffalo prospect phenom Casey Mittelstadt have gotten off to a great start thanks to their great chemistry on the ice. They have fed off each other all season thanks to Rem’s great shot and Mittelstadt’s adept skills with the puck. Pitlick, however, is a great player in his own right and deserves a spotlight on his own.
A nice little feed from Casey Mittelstadt finds Rem Pitlick in stride for the goal in the Gophers' Friday win at North Dakota #Sabres pic.twitter.com/zKKwyUOhzA— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) October 21, 2017
Adam Smith, D, Bowling Green State University
An important blue liner on the Bowling Green State University roster, Adam Smith is often an afterthought in almost everyone’s minds when it comes to Predators prospects. Though he may have found a role at Bowling Green, he is certainly a project player as far as the Predators are concerned and is another player who will likely take the long route to the NHL. God speed, sir!
Juniors - CHL, USHL
Pavel Koltygin, F, Drummondville Voltigeurs [QMJHL]
Koltygin is a really fascinating prospect in my eyes. Capable of playing center and wing, he reminds me a bit of Yakov Trenin (keep your eyes out for a QMJHL-focused Prospects Report soon). The QMJHL is an equally fascinating league regarding offensive production, but more on that later. Koltygin has 14 points in 16 games and was selected to represent Russia in the CHL’s Canada-Russia series later in Novemeber. He had a slow October, but I’m curious to see how his season rounds out. Here are highlights from a two goal, two assist game from Koltygin, #27. His goals here are mostly cleaning up rebounds, but he has good awareness in the offensive zone. His defensive work is shaky when playing wing, but maybe he’s adjusting to frequent position changes.
Jacob Paquette, D, Kingston Frontenacs [OHL]
Paquette has gotten off to a comparitively hot start offensively for Kingston. He has five points through 15 games which is half of his point production last season. The OHL doesn’t track ice time, but Paquette appears to be playing more ice time than most defensemen other than Eemeli Rasanen, a Toronto draft pick. Below is a good show of his development so far: a goal off a strong shot at the 0:55 mark but poor defensive awareness and a goal against at the 1:15 mark of the video.
FINAL SO: @KingstonFronts (3) - @BulldogsOHL (4)— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) October 15, 2017
HAM - @brandonsaigeon 2G
KGN - @jeremyhelvig60 49 SVs
VIDEO: https://t.co/X58oE2MwfU pic.twitter.com/vQUODgTv50
Tomas Vomacka, G, Lincoln Stars [USHL]
Vomacka had a scorching-hot start to the season winning his first three games with one shutout. He’s dipped since then dropping the next three and ballooning his goals-against average to above three and his save-percentage below .900. He has a whole season to find his game before heading to UConn next year. In the meantime, here’s a cross-crease save from earlier in the year - a save he frequently makes:
Tomas Vomacka with a ridiculous save 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/d1tUax0nLK— USHL (@USHL) September 29, 2017
Taylor Aronson, D, Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers [DEL]
We all remember how Aronson and the Preds’ relationship ended back in May of 2016. You can refresh yourself here. Regardless, the Preds still hold his NHL rights. He’s played a solid season thus far with the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers in the top German league. I don’t see a return to the organization happening, as his rights expire after this season.
Victor Ejdsell, F, HV71 [SHL]
A big free agent story, Ejdsell has had a strong start in the SHL. With 11 points in 14 games, he is 17th in the league in scoring - not far behind the likes of Elias Pettersson, the fifth overall pick this year and brother of the Preds’ Emil Pettersson. He leads HV71 in scoring to date while only averaging the eight most ice time amongst forwards. His ice time has been bumped up to around 18 minutes per night lately; look for that trust from the coaching staff to continue as long as he produces. Here is an example of his excellent shot. If all goes well, he could be pushing for a spot in Nashville before long.
Stefan Elliott, D, HV71 [SHL]
Similarly to Aronson, Elliott left the Preds after being qualified as a Restricted Free Agent in 2016. He struggled in the KHL in 2016-17, but has recently signed with Ejdsell’s club HV71 of the SHL. He hasn’t played a game yet, but it will be interesting to see if he has a bounceback season.
Hardy Haman Aktell, D, Skelleftea AIK J20 [SuperElit]
The mystery of Hardy Haman Aktell continues. Limited to only three games last season with a hip injury, it appears he still remains on the shelf as he has not appeared on any lineup card for Skelleftea this season. We might have to fly over and investigate ourselves soon.
Eeli Tolvanen, F, Jokerit [KHL]
The Preds’ first-round pick this summer is tearing it up in the KHL on a hot Jokerit team. With 13 goals and 23 points in 24 games, he is the prize of the Preds’ prospect pool. He will be playing for Finland in the Olympic tune-up Karjala Tournament from November 8 to November 12. In the meantime, go check out our latest report on Tolvanen.
Karel Vejmelka, G, HC Kometa Brno/ SK Horacka Slavia Trebic [Czech]
Vejmelka’s 2017-18 campaign has been similar to Volkov’s below. Bouncing between Martin Erat’s Kometa Brno in the top Czech league and Horacka Slavia Trebic in the league below, Vejmelka has yet to find a permanent home. But not for performance reasons. He has a low goals allowed average for Kometa and Slavia, with save percentages of .973% and .915% respectively. I like Vejmelka’s chances of coming overseas relatively soon.
Konstantin Volkov, G, SKA-1946/ SKA Neva [MHL/ VHL]
Volkov started the season bouncing between SKA-Neva of the VHL and SKA-1946 of the MHL; the VHL is the league one tier below the KHL. He’s since settled in the MHL although some expected him to earn a spot permanently in the VHL this season. Regardless, he’s allowed less than two goals per game in 11 starts and carries a 0.923 save percentage. Fairly impressive.
As always, the Milwaukee Admirals have several newcomers this season. Emil Pettersson, Tyler Kelleher, Frederic Allard, Tyler Moy, and Yakov Trenin are all new full-time players (Kelleher, Allard, Moy, and Trenin have a bit of past experience with the Admirals) while there are several new faces in the locker room who came in the form of signings. This group has gotten off to a great start with five wins and three losses in eight games, ranking second in the western conference.
Of note, Emil Pettersson is leading the team in points with four goals and seven assists. Kelleher, Anders Lindback, Anthony Richard, Vladislav Kamenev, and Harry Zolnierczyk have all played well to start. Pettersson is probably the of biggest interest because he seems is a player who could factor in to the Nashville Predators’ lineup this season. A 23 year old with plenty of professional experience in Sweden, Pettersson plays with great poise, is a great playmaker, and good in all areas. If the center position opens up in Nashville watch out.
The baby Admirals have gotten off to a slow start in ECHL action going 2-6-0 in their first eight games. The Preds’ currently have no contracts in Norfolk, but the plan is to utilize them for players on AHL contracts and tryouts to show off their game. That said, Joonas Lyytinen and Frederic Allard both suited up for Norfolk this season, and one could return there once Jack Dougherty returns from injury. Regardless of the baby Ads slow start, there are a few names to watch. Angelo Miceli and Trevor Mingoia both standout to me; both are inked to AHL deals with Milwaukee. Miceli leads the team in scoring at the moment and has proven his ability to dominate the ECHL before. TJ Melancon is another name fans will remember from the summer. The defenseman has four points in eight games and has looked solid so far.